Thursday, January 2, 2014

Adventures in toddler foods: Baked tofu

I always thought of tofu as being bland, boring, soggy and pretty tasteless. I would tolerate small amounts of it in my hot and sour soup but never cooked it on my own or tried experimenting with it. Since I was  never really a big fan of soy products anyway,  I definitely didn't consider preparing this for my daughter. However I started experimenting with tofu when my husband went back to being a vegetarian. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that when marinated and baked, it can be so delicious! My daughter saw my husband eating it and really wanted to try it and she loved it right away, so I'll give her small amounts of it every now and then.

I experimented with different methods of cooking it before deciding that baked tofu tastes the best. Initially I wasn't even aware that there were different degrees of firmness. I always assumed that all tofu was soft and mushy, however I came to discover that most stores have a selection of tofu ranging from very soft, soft, firm, extra firm... etc...  For a chewy texture, I like to buy the firmest available. When I'm at my local supermarket I'll get the Extra Firm, but when when I go to Costco I'll get the #4 Firm shown below which is the only option they have.

It works out just fine because I found out that to make it even firmer I could press the excess water out.  Doing this is really straightforward. I just put blocks of tofu on a plate, place another plate on top of it and then put a heavy weight object such as a 28oz can on top. Within a few minutes all the water is pressed out of the tofu to make it even it even firmer.

Once that is done, I cut up the tofu into chunks and marinate it. I have tried several different marinades, some I make from scratch and others are store bought. My favorite so far is made up of plain yogurt, lemon juice, soy sauce and Vietnamese garlic chili sauce; its great on chicken too!

I'll usually leave the tofu to marinate for several hours in the fridge in a Hefty bag. The longer it marinates the better it tastes.

Once it's marinated long enough, I bake it on a cookie sheet  at 350 degrees for anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, turning it every ten minutes or so. I started out using aluminum foil as a liner but have recently discovered parchment paper which is so much better!

Baked tofu is easy to make, easy to store and easy to add to any meal. My 20 month old toddler loves it and can't get enough of it!


  1. It tastes delicious! I like that tofu picks up whatever flavor it is marinaded in. your marinade sounds gorge